Monday, September 05, 2005

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger

The New York Times published an article ‘White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage” by By Adam Nagourney and Anne E. Kornblut

Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

What I always admire about American politics is the incredible ability to make successful PR campaigns. Putin and the company almost never managed to look better on TV or in the press. On the other hand, I think Putin is better when it comes to look at the problem rationally and not politically. After a disaster (and the history of Russia since 1991 seems to be just a long chain of crises and natural disasters) he almost never kicks asses but tries to make things work better.

One of my distant relatives is working for MChS – Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations (word by word translation). It’s a government body dealing with natural disasters and emergencies. In his opinion MCsS after every disaster that hits Russia becomes better and better. Being a lame and incompetent organization just seven years ago, today it’s the one of the best in the world in terms of professionalism. And I believe him.
Experience is the shortest way to professionalism. And experience from failed operations is twice more valuable. One fight on the ring with a professional brings more experience than months of punching a fisting bag. One wise guy said, “In the West the market is regulated by invisible hand but in Russia – by invisible foot.” Dozens of disasters and thousands kicks in the ass made Russian MChS so good.

Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote:

[Russian] Emergencies Ministry planes have been under starter's orders for several days. But the go-ahead from the other side of the ocean never came. It leads you to think: Is Washington afraid of having US citizens rescued by people who are not flying the stars and stripes? Are they trying to preserve the prestige of a state that does not take easily to accepting aid from a "third-world" country? But isn't the saving of human life more important than PR or ideological considerations?

Does anyone know that Putin was the first to offer help to Bush Jr. after the Katrina disaster? It took MChS three hours to put four freight airplanes with equipment, medical personnel, rescue workers, etc. One freight airplanes had four light helicopters. Why didn’t they come to the US? You know, American visa regulations require that all people who want to enter the States should come through a personal interview with a US council officer in Moscow, leave the fingerprints, etc, etc. No exceptions.

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